Skip to main content

Jane Teller papers, 1911-1991

Jane Teller papers, 1911-1991

Teller, Jane S., 1911-1990


Collection Information

Size: 8.6 linear ft.

Summary: The papers of printmaker and sculptor Jane Teller measure 8.6 linear feet and date from 1911 to 1991. The papers include biographical materials, correspondence, business records, notes, writings, three sketchbooks, sketches and prints, five scrapbooks, printed material, subject files, photographs, sound and video recordings, and motion picture film.

Biographical material includes a birth certificate, school work, and passports. General correspondence includes letters from several artists including Rhys Caparn, Sue Fuller and Lee Gatch, and from art galleries, including the Museum of Modern Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Additional correspondence is found in the Subject Files.

Business records include an account book, lists of expenses and prices of art works, and sales records. Notes and writings include Teller's notes about art and travel, artists' statements, autobiographical writings, and a compilation of many artists' statements regarding "The Nine Bean Question."

Artwork includes three sketchbooks, 30 sketches, and three prints primarily depicting nature and sculpture designs.

Five scrapbooks contain clippings, exbition announcements and catalogs. Additional printed material includes magazines, exhibition announcements and catalogs, a booklet by Teller entitled "Art, Age and the River," published posthumously by her husband, and a manuscript of "Poems or Poetic Expressions of Sculptors," collected by L. Lamis.

Subject files are arranged by name or subject and may contain letters, photographs, and printed material. Many of the files focus on galleries and museums, including the Montclair Art Museum, the Newark Museum, Noyes Museum, Parma Gallery, the Princeton Gallery of Fine Art and the Squibb Gallery. There are also subject files for associations, travel, projects, and colleagues including Margaret K. Johnson, Reuben Kadish, Ibram Lassaw, Aaron Siskind, and Dorothy Dehner.

Photographs and slides depict Teller, her friends, works, gallery installations, and travels. Also included are photographs of trees, bark, and other natural formations used by Teller in her work.

The audio-visual materials include several sound recordings, videocassettes, and motion picture film. The videocassettes include television programs in which Teller, printmaker Judith Brodsky, and actor Harry Hamlin are interviewed, a retrospective at Skidmore College and a film featuring Teller speaking for the National Council on Aging. Sound recordings include two interviews and a "Talk on Malta" by Teller and Joan Needham. The motion picture films are 16 mm black and white footage of Teller's first Parma Gallery show.

Biographical/Historical Note

Jane Teller (1911-1990) was a sculptor from Princeton, N.J. Specialized in wood sculpture. Studied at Rochester Institute of Technology, Skidmore College, and Barnard College. Attended WPA classes in NYC and with Ibram Lassaw in his studio. Longtime friend of Aaron Siskind. Exhibited mainly in New York and New Jersey.


Donated 1990 by Jane Teller and 1991 by Walter Teller, widower of Jane Teller.

A Finding Aid to the Jane Teller Papers,
, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical Note
Jane Teller (1911-1990) worked as a printmaker and sculptor primarily in New Jersey. She specialized in working with wood and studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Skidmore College, and Barnard College. She also attended Federal Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) classes in New York City, studying sculpture with Aaron J. Goodelman and wood carving with Karl Nielson. She later studied welding in the studio of Ibram Lassaw. She was also a lifelong friend of photographer Aaron Siskind. In 1960, she was awarded the Mary and Gustave Kellner Prize at the National Association of Women Artists Annual Exhibition at the National Academy of Design in New York, and in 1966 the Sculpture Prize at the Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition, Philadelphia Art Alliance in Philadelphia. She exhibited mainly in New York and New Jersey and was married to author and editor Walter Teller.
The collection is arranged as 11 series. Records are generally arranged by material type and chronologically thereafter.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1911-1985 (Box 1; 4 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1956-1991 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 3: Business Records, 1961-1990 (Box 1; 5 folders)
Series 4: Notes, 1960-1987 (Box 1; 13 folders)
Series 5: Writings, 1960-1989 (Boxes 1 and 9; 5 folders)
Series 6: Artwork, circa 1950s (Boxes 1 and 9; 6 folders)
Series 7: Scrapbooks, 1948-1990 (Boxes 1-2; 0.7 linear feet)
Series 8: Printed Material, 1957-1991 (Boxes 2-3 and 9; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 9: Subject Files, 1951-1990 (Boxes 3-5; 2.5 linear feet)
Series 10: Photographs, 1934-1985 (Boxes 5-9; 2.5 linear feet)
Series 11: Audio-Visual Materials, 1961-1989 (Box 8, FC 10-12; 0.6 linear feet)
Donated 1990 by Jane Teller and 1991 by Walter Teller, widower of Jane Teller.
Processing Information
The collection was arranged by Jean Fitzgerald in 1994. Eden Orelove created the finding aid in 2011. Motion picture film reels were inspected and re-housed in 2016 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Jane Teller papers, 1911-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

  • No downloads available